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S1x08: And the Rockets Dead Glare

March 25, 2010

AIR DATE: 3/17/1993
DIRECTED BY: Peter Markle
WRITTEN BY: Tom Fontana
GUEST STARS: Bai Ling, Zeljko Ivanek, Ami Brabson

With out her normal Labelle/Lady Marmalade costuming here, Bai Ling is virtually unrecognizable! And she’s very effective as the friend and fellow student protester from 1989’s rise up in China. While the name of the place is barely uttered, the writing here is so fantastic it would almost seem like overkill to trot it out like some shortcut in lieu of strong characterization. This is the first appearance of Pembleton’s wife Mary, played by – oddly enough – Braugher’s real life wife Ami Brabson.

Crosetti and Lewis take a road trip to the nation’s capital to investigate the murder of a Chinese student who had ties to the student uprising in 1989. Naturally they’re blocked by both the US government and officials of a Chinese Embassy. And the tradition of great cop shows, the material witness is not who she claims to be and unfortunately has flown back to China, leaving the detectives with a longer ride than they are authorized to charge to the department gas card.

Munchkin and Big Man chase down drug dealing murders, kick in doors and try to pawn off chain of custody matters onto uniformed officers because narcotics is running late and they can’t be arsed to deal with the paperwork. Since Big Man is distancing himself from Blythe, he might as well get back to closing cases. He and Munch unpack Munch’s unconventional views on drugs. The murder victim serves a springboard for Munch to rail against the war on drugs, Dupont and people who mistake him for a drug user rather than murder police.

Howard and Felton hang around the courthouse waiting to testify in the KEENER case and watch crappy movies on equipment Felton borrowed from the unclaimed property room. Howard botches part of her testimony and this compels her to keep fondling State Attorney Danvers’s hand. She moves beyond the merits of the case and waxes poetically about the merits of Danvers. While declaring her non love for Danvers, he walks out and overhears the statement. Felton then infers the two are playing “hide the warrant”.

Bayliss shares a donut with Gee while trying to track down Pembleton. Pembleton goes upstairs to meet with Barnfather and is put on the short list for the vacant shift commander. Pembleton is evasive when Gee presses him for information. Meanwhile Bayliss meanders in and out of the episode tap dancing on the high of solving his last case – the murder of JAKE the police dog. Pembleton goes to dinner with his wife Mary and tries to figure out what he’s going to do about the offer from the Brass. Riddled with guilt, Pembleton confesses to Gee, which of course Gee already knows and Pembleton gets the first glimpse of the shitty triangulation often used by the Brass.

Gee sniffs around trying to figure out what Pembleton is hiding from him and moves about the squad room sitting on desk after desk engaging in chow chow with his detectives who all seem to be in reasonably good moods.

S1x01 Pilot: Gone for Goode
S1x02 Ghost of a Chance
S1x03 Night of the Dead Living
S1x04 Son of a Gun
S1x05 A Shot in the Dark
S1x06 Three Men and Adena
S1x07A Dog and Pony Show

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2010 6:56 am

    One of the things I’m starting to appreciate about H:LOTS is the way it shows the drudgery and frustration of cop work — disappearing witnesses, procedural bullshit, politics, bum leads, lack of funds — and yet still makes it fun and interesting. Like you say, Barney Miller minus the laugh track.

  2. March 26, 2010 12:52 pm

    I think it draws equal parts from Barney Miller and St Elsewhere. Homicide has a wonderful rhythm and flow and rarely resorts to pandering to the audience. It’s okay to leave them unsatisfied.

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